Charleston's Very First Department Store
store started as a hole-in-the-wall on Capitol Street at the turn of
the Century. Before long the three investors opened a large,
first of it's kind store on Quarrier & Dickinson Streets.
Called a "Department Store" they claimed it to be "50 stores in
one". It was the Diamond Department Store of its day.
Interesting too, that it was located in an "outlying" area.
You see, most all businesses were on Kanawha Street (now Kanawha
Blvd) and a block down Summers and Capitol. A few stores then
started building towards Quarrier St, but Charleston's first
department store was out in the boonies, all the way up to Dickinson
Street! And check out that wicked sign. I still havent figured
that out, but it's just unusual enough to be very cool for 1911!|
long, by 1911 the store covered the entire block between Dickinson and
Hale Streets. One of the interesting aspects of this store was that it
had an early Kroger food store inside. At that time, Kroger wasnt a
stand alone food market here, but simply just another department within
the main store. In other words, Kroger played second fiddle to
Warwick, Barrett & Shipley. This was the only Kroger store in
our entire area. The original building still stands today, while
the left side (which was actually another building) has been removed,
and years later the Blossom Dairy was built on that spot. |
But, like all companies that grow too fast.....
started when Mr Warwick and Mr Barrett left the company. It's
unknown why, or what other issues caused the closure.||Within two years, the company was in default.|
|But Shipley went-on to become President of one of the largest stores in the world at that time in NYC.||There was a fire in the building years later. Interesting side note: Part of the building housed the Biltmore Hotel|
The Davidson Building today.
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